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Green homes sprouting in Lancaster, Costa Mesa

July 13, 2010 | 10:00 am

Forget McMansions -- eco-homes are shaping up to be a real estate trend.

The latest glimpse comes out of Lancaster, where Los Angeles-based homebuilder KB Home has built a single-story, four-bedroom house filled with the trappings of green living.

That includes a low-chemical paint job, recycled carpeting, efficient LED lights, rainwater collection tanks and programmable thermostats.

Tiles on the rooftop that can apparently neutralize nearby smog share space with solar panels expected to provide 6,800 kilowatt-hours each year. Batteries in the garage can store 10 kilowatt-hours worth of power. An outlet can charge electric cars; the landscaping can survive drought conditions and features a controlled irrigation system that can save more water.

And the price of the sustainable pad, which qualifies for the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star rating, starts in the low $200,000s.

Stocked with products from Chinese technology and manufacturing firm BYD, the prototype property is making its debut Tuesday in KB Home's Alamosa community in West Lancaster.

Construction began in late March after the city waived all local municipal development fees and fast-tracked the project through the approval process. Lancaster officials on Monday revealed a partnership with Foster City-based solar panel company SolarCity Corp. to take the city solar.

But the so-called "Home of the Future" isn't the first of its kind and probably won't be the last.

Take the aptly named "Green Home" in Costa Mesa, which is for sale.

The property earned a platinum rating -- the highest from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, known as LEED.

The six-bedroom, 5,000-square-foot house used lumber from sustainably managed forests and specially designed ventilation and insulation, as well as efficient air conditioning and heating systems.

A gray water set-up repurposes used shower water for the low-flow toilets and irrigation. Photovoltaic solar panels will provide for most, if not all, of the electricity needs.

-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: "Home of the Future" in Lancaster. Credit: KB Home.